MSP Foundation – The Business Case

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In MSP the business case provides the vital test of the viability of the programme. It answers the question ‘Is the investment in this programme still worth it?’.

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The Business Case

For the foundation exam you have to know facts, terms and concepts, specifically recall the:

=> The purpose and types of contents of a business case (pages 123 to 125, 239):

  • Purpose: used to validate the initiation of the programme and the ongoing viability of the programme
  • Contents:
    • The strategic objectives for the programme, reflecting the vision statement, and aligning with the organizational context and business environment
    • The expected benefits, with recognition of the organization’s ability to achieve the necessary transformation and change
    • The overall risk profile, indicating the major risks to programme delivery and benefits realization; detailed risks assessment will be part of the programme’s risk register
    • Estimated costs and overall timescales; detailed scheduling of programme milestones will be part of the programme plan
    • Investment appraisal
    • Forecast of cash flow and expenditure over the programme timeline
    • Options and approaches that have been considered, including likely costs, benefits and risks

=> Keys questions answered by a business case during the life of the programme (pages 127, 128):

  • Is the programme (still) affordable – is there sufficient funding?
  • Is the outcomes (still) achievable – is there a realistic assessment of the organization’s ability to cope with the scale of change envisaged?
  • Does the programme (still) demonstrate value for money – are the benefits and the costs of realizing them in the right balance?
  • Have options been considered – is the programme’s dossier of projects (still) the appropriate or optimum way of achieving the desired outcome(s)?
  • Is the programme still justifiable in terms of its ability to meet strategic objectives
  • Is there an up-to-date contingency plan and are there arrangements in place to ensure that there is sufficient financial cover for risks and uncertainties?

=> Different types of programme costs identified in guidance (page 129):

  • Project costs, sometimes referred to as investment or development costs: Project costs in acquiring and delivering the enabling outputs. For project and programme contingency and change budget.
    • Possible information source: Projects dossier, Programme plan, Project business cases
  • Benefits realization costs: Setting up and implementing measurement, monitoring, and reporting on benefits realization. Other costs incurred in achieving the benefits, which can be attributed to benefits – for example, compensation packages for staff.
    • Possible information source: Benefits management strategy, Benefit profiles, Benefits realization plan
  • Business change and transition costs: Cost of preparing, training, moving and supporting an operational unit until new practices are embedded. This could include interim operational resources required to embed the change. Costs of activities defined in the ‘Realizing the Benefits’ element of the tranche, including the costs of the BCM and business change teams.
    • Possible information source: Programme plan, Resource management plan, Benefit profiles
  • Programme management costs: Some programme roles will be full-time: for example the programme office and the programme manager. Associated costs for these roles and for programme management activities: for example office space, programme tools for tracking and reporting progress. Contingency budget for dealing with risk and change. Assurance and review costs.
    • Possible information source: Resource management plan, Information management strategy, Programme communications plan, Quality and assurance strategy, Programme plan
  • Capital costs: Capital costs are normally for fixed assets which can often be found under the ‘technology’ heading in the blueprint. In accountancy terms the impact of these costs will often be spread over a number of years.
    • Possible information source: Blueprint

=> Main areas of focus for the governance theme business case of (page 131):

  1. SRO:
    • Answering to the sponsoring group for the successful delivery of the programme and achievement of the business case
    • Securing investment for the programme
    • Ensuring that the business case is controlled, and audit trails are in place to account for changes as the programme develops
    • Scanning the business horizons surrounding the programme for issues that will lead to realignment of the programme in some way
    • Ensuring that the progress of the programme remains aligned with the business case
    • Consulting with the sponsoring group to identify any early-warning indicators of change that may undermine the business case or cause it to lose strategic alignment Initiating independent assurance reviews of business case viability
  2. Programme manager:
    • Preparing the business case
    • Supporting the SRO in the ongoing validation and review of the business case
    • Managing the programme’s expenditure against the overall investment defined in the business case
    • Identifying opportunities to optimize the business case
  3. BCM:
    • Profiling the benefits and dis-benefits and their associated costs
    • Ensuring that benefits continue to be valid through regular business case reviews
    • Ensuring that the full cost of change is being captured in the business case
    • Identifying operational risks to the business case and ensuring that they are controlled
    • Measuring benefits at the start of the programme and tracking throughout to inform the net benefits
    • Managing business change costs
    • Managing benefits realization costs
    • Realizing the profiled benefits
  4. Programme office:
    • Supporting the SRO and the programme manager in compiling and updating the business case
    • Collecting and maintaining business case information
    • Facilitating business case reviews

Managing Successful Programmes – Foundation content guide (hyperlinks will be added as posts become available):


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